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Ideology and competence in alternative electoral systems

  • Iaryczower, Matias
  • Mattozzi, Andrea

We develop a model of elections in proportional (PR) and majoritarian (FPTP) electoral systems. The model allows for an endogenous number of candidates, differentiation of candidates in a private value dimension, or ideology, and a common value dimension, which we interpret broadly as quality. Voters are fully rational and strategic. We show that the quality of the candidates is always at least as high in majoritarian electoral systems than in proportional electoral systems, and that the number of candidates is always at least as large in PR as in FPTP (where exactly two candidates run). Moreover, we provide conditions under which the rankings are strict. The diversity of ideological positions represented in elections can be larger in PR or FPTP elections. In the most efficient equilibrium, however, FPTP implies perfect convergence of candidates in the median. Since a convergent equilibrium can never occur in PR, and voters are risk averse, the most efficient equilibrium in FPTP dominates in terms of voters' welfare the most efficient equilirbium in PR.

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Paper provided by California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences in its series Working Papers with number 1285.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clt:sswopa:1285
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  1. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
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